Molt Be Blog

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Newsish Things

I couldn't agree more: article.

One of the most incongruous sights of the globalised age - the Starbucks coffee shop inside Beijing's Forbidden City - could soon be a thing of the past after a furious online campaign for it to be relocated outside the palace's 600-year-old walls.

In response to this latest demonstration of “netizen” power in China, the guardians of the ancient site have announced plans to review the presence of the Seattle-based coffee chain...

Despite lowering its profile with the removal of its trademark signboards, opposition has never been as focused as this week. The trigger was a blog entry posted on Monday by Rui Chenggang, a TV anchorman, who called for a web campaign against the outlet that, he wrote in his blog, "tramples over over Chinese culture".

And, this blog entry by Harper's Ken Silverstein gives further information on how Paul Bremer is to blame for a lot of the problems we're seeing in Iraq. That guy should be indicted.
The second thing that needs to happen, he asserted, is the death of Moqtada al-Sadr, the Shiite cleric who heads the formidable Mahdi Army, because there is no chance of stabilizing Iraq as long as he is alive. As an eldest son, Sadr inherited his title and authority from his father. The cleric has no children and hence, in the event of his death, power would devolve to an uncle. “I know [the uncle] and have worked with him,” the former officer said. “He's completely different from Sadr; he's focused on the economic side, on reconstruction, and on improving the lives of the average Shiite. If Shiites were working, religion would be a secondary issue instead of the only thing they've got.”

U.S. forces, said my source, twice had the opportunity to kill Sadr, first in 2003 after his supporters killed Abdul Majid al-Khoei, a British-based Shiite Muslim leader who had returned to Iraq to work with Coalition forces, and again in 2004. “His mother dimed him out that time. He was in Najaf, and we couldn't pin down his location. She went to a member of the family who told us where he was. You know the guy is bad news when his own mother wants him dead.”

Both times, my source explained, Paul Bremer—who was then the head of the Coalition Provisional Authority—blocked the possibility of targeting Sadr, over the heated objections of CIA officers. “We should have killed him a long time ago,” said my source. “There was going to be blowback, but he was a problem that wasn't going to get any better. And now we're at the point where we are today.”

(Bremer's CPA is also cited repeatedly as one of those behind the selling of Iraq and it's tranformation into a "neocon utopia" in this fantastic article for Harper's by Naomi Klein.)

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